Diana’s Peak is is highest place on our island, and also one of the more interesting. Diana’s Peak is not alone – it’s part of a range of three summits, all almost equally lofty. The three summits are Diana’s Peak, Cuckold Point and Mount Actaeon. The coordinates are 15°57’35”S, 5°41’29”W. The elevation of the highest peak is generally accepted to be 818m (2,684ft).
It is primarily an area for natural wildlife. 393 invertebrate species which have been recorded on the Central Peaks, 217 of which exist only in St. Helena. These 217 endemic species represent more than half of the total number of species across the whole Island.
THE DIANA’S PEAK NATIONAL PARK
The Diana’s Peak National Park was launched in March 1996, encompassing the area of the three peaks; a total area of 81 hectares. It is now part of the National Conservation Areas. Most of the enclosed area is natural forest, though there still remain many areas of New Zealand Flax which are steadily being cleared.
WALKING DIANA’S PEAK
On a clear day Diana’s Peak offers stunning views right across the Island. The walking is not difficult, but it can be slippery when wet.
The walk starts from a parking lay-by on Stitch’s Ridge on the road towards Sandy Bay that leads off the “W” road. Walk back a short distance and the start of the walk, up Cabbage Tree Road grass track, is clearly marked. Following this track brings you on to a ridge, where you bear right towards the Peaks (left here takes you to Halley’s Observatory). On reaching a cannon, bear left then right, following the stepped path onto the Peaks themselves.
The first peak reached is Mount Actaeon, and has a large pine on the summit. Continuing on, the path drops slightly and then climbs back up to reach Diana’s Peak itself. This is part of the cloud forest of the Island and has many endemic plants and insects, including massive tree ferns. From Diana’s Peak the walk continues to the third peak along the ridge which is Cuckold’s Point.
Carry on from Cuckold’s and down a path through the tree ferns. At the bottom turn left along a broad track and follow this below the peaks, rejoining the outward path below Mount Actaeon. Then retrace your steps back along Cabbage Tree Road.
Allow 2-3 hours.